Interview: Truzky

Who is Truzky? Can you give a short intro of yourself to the Novigrad Journal audience?

Hi, in real life I work as programmer and I am still during my Master studies. I really enjoy all sort of card games and board games. In Gwent community I am mainly known for playing Arachas Swarm and qualifying to Open 3.

You are a seasoned Gwent player, achieving some of the most impressive win rates ever, yet you are a bit unknown to the wide audience comparing to the “giants” of Gwent. Why do you think that is?

Before this year my best Gwent achievements were few top 64 qualis, it’s really hard to remember someone only from that. And in this year I think I was mainly known to other top ladder players, good ladder results are not enough to get interest of wide audience, as it is pretty hard for most gwent enthusiasts to stay up-to-date with all ladder scores.

You have a very irregular Gwent schedule – you appear in one season to smash it and finish in top 16, just to be completely invisible next season – why?

Playing Gwent on the highest level is really stressful and time-consuming. I need to find some time for my work and uni as well. Moreover I don’t want to lose all my hair too fast 🙂

Your last Qualifier – in top 16 part you have lost rather quickly, then you have returned for top 64 to win it all. What happened during top 16, and what has changed in-between to allow such a strong comeback?

I was prepping really hard for top 16 qualis, but I got highrolled in a matchup I targetted ☹ (opponent stole my Vernossiel with blind Cantarella and I lost favoured long round by 1). I was really tilted after that, but I made some other mistakes, and these games which costed me series. After that I was even hesitating if I want to play in top 64 qualis. But I decided to do it with no expectations. I made my target strategy way softer – I played good decks which I am comfortable with and it worked. Moreover, during all 10 series I had pretty decent draws and only 1 bad lowroll which also helped a lot.

Having observed your preparations to said Qualifier, I was impressed by the amount of time you have spent analyzing all potential matchups in detail and adjusting your decks – it was as if you were learning by heart all the potential cards sequences. How much do you think it helped you in qualifying, and how much was it luck or other factors not dependent from you?

It definitely helped me in becoming a better player. Macro management is crucial part in Gwent, especially on highest level and every meta is a bit different, so I sometimes need to makes sure that I am up-to-date. To get a spot in the qualifiers you need to spend over 100 hours in season, so when I participate I want to avoid errors from my side.  But luck factor is also huge.

Frustration, resignation, anxiety – probably all of us feel it every now and then playing Gwent, but it’s the Qualifiers and Open players who are exposed to it most, due to the stakes. Have you been through it and how did you deal with it?

Yeah, I am going through this everytime I fight for top spots. If you have fun playing some decks (for example I have with my lovely Arachas Swarm) it is way better, but even then, at some point you ask yourself if you really want to waste hundreds of hours to get small chance of participation in a big Gwent event. Usually at the beginning I play only for fun and if I have good results I don’t want to waste that, so I decide to tryhard. I really don’t like to abandon my ideas.

Team Elder Blood – what role does it play in your gamer career? How do you make your Team better, and how does the Team make you better?

Elder Blood helps me quite a lot. I always enjoyed creating my own decks, so it feels great to have someone to share it with and ask for opinion. That’s how I created my favourite Arachas deck, I messed up a bit with that leader abillity for few months and just after entering the team I had a lot of suggestions from my teammates. Even if suggestions are bad it is very helpful, as you can tell loud why this idea is bad and verify that. Team is just group of friends, in which you can talk about Gwent, it is really hard to that in real life only. And it helps in all the tournament preparations by a lot as well. 

What is your biggest achievement in Gwent so far, and what is your ultimate goal?

Of course it is getting to an Open and I want to win it 😊

How long do you play Gwent for? And after such time is it still fun, or more chore?

I play it from beta, but I didn’t play it much back then. I started to play more when Harmony became meta and I play a lot more from beginning of this year. It is still kinda fun, but I found that the better results I have, the less fun it is. For few last months I had fun mainly from winning, not by the game itself.

If you were to do something more about Gwent, what would that be? Streaming, professional coaching, trying to get a job at CDPR, or just going on a rehab?

I am programmer so I think it is better perspective than Gwent 😀 But I might try streaming at some point, should be pretty fun.

What will you do with your reward if you manage to qualify to the final game of this Open?

It depends on the sum. I’ll probably buy a new computer, maybe invest some money. I definitely need to buy some drinks and celebrate with my teammates who spent dozens, if not hundreds, of hours on prepping with me.

Can you reveal your secret to your absolutely smashing 70+% winrates?

Play on low MMR 😊 But seriously, just focus on your gameplay, if you lose, think what was the reason. And try to not blame not drawing the right cards, analyse if there was a way to win with that hand instead. And most importantly, not play too much at one sitting. You will just lose all the mmr you had at the beginning. You can also change factions after two losses in a row.

You have built quite a few meta decks yourself – among others the very first killer Arachas Swarm – which you continue updating every season and keeping competitive. How do you approach deckbuilding and why are your versions so efficient?

I think I am way better in building decks now than few months before. Sometimes few bronze cards can win you the game. Ladder decks are pretty different from tournament decks. On ladder you try to tech against most popular decks right now, and you can include surprise value cards. In tournaments deckbuilding is even more important. I think intuition is the most important thing in this subject. Sometimes you need to play only 1 game or even no games to see that your idea was bad.

Autopilot vs heavy thinking – if you look at your season, what’s the % ratio of each such games in total you play on ladder?

It depends much on the deck. With Arachas Swarm I am almost 100% on autopilot. If I know meta pretty well, it should be like 65% autopilot / 35% heavy thinking.

Most of the top players have Prestige 11 – which probably means 2-3 thousand hours spent on Gwent. That’s 3-4h a day every day for two years. Does it really take so much to compete at the highest level?

Yeah, ladder is really time-consuming. Especially if you are starting your adventure with competing on high level in Gwent. Now I think 2 hours daily should be enough for me to get top 64 spot, but if you want to fight for top 16 you really need to spend A LOT of time.

Can one become champion only through playing and learning from own mistakes / victories? Or is watching streams, tournaments and YouTube guides necessary?

It’s definitely possible, but YouTube and streams help a lot. I can really recommend series on Spyro’s YouTube channel about basic mistakes, it definitely helped me to get into high level Gwent.

Which players have impressed you most recently and why?

Definitely my teammates. Olsmer who is prepping with me to the Open is able to keep positive winratio playing against me regardless of decks on the probe of dozens if not hundreds of games. And he wants to spend every evening to do that, while he could for example climb ladder instead. Also recently I was pretty impressed by Gandalf as well. I sent him two decks I knew pretty well, and in his first view on them, during the game, he won by taking the line he found and I wasn’t aware of that.

How would you describe your main strategy foundation in each game you play, which allows you to win so often?

Just be aware of your gameplan. At the beginning of the game think what you should do to win and then do that step by step.

Which 3 cards should be forever removed from Gwent and why?

1) Geralt Yrden – it’s just toxic design, with many decks you can’t really play around that and you lose games no matter what you do.

2) Viper Witcher Alchemist –  same argument, and it’s very cheap for what he does.

3) Competition is very high with Igni, Cahir, Foltest, Tavern Brawl, Predatory Dive, and more, but I think I choose Kolgrim. I just hate that entire clog archetype and he can do insane points if unanswered.

Which archetype have you always dreamt of playing in meta, but it was always too weak?

Northern Realms mages with Yen-Con

What’s your favourite mechanics in Gwent, and have you ever thought about a new cool mechanics that could be added?

Spawning drones and boosting them 😊 I would really enjoy card which is protecting all other units from dying to nontargetted damage while it is on board.

Which Gwent voice line is your favourite?

Do you sometimes play Seasonal for fun? If so, which one is your favourite, and what kind of funky rules would you apply if you were to design a new one?

I do that on my second account. I really enjoy Blitz and Switcheroo.

ELO system on ladder – do you like it? What are its pros and cons, and do you know any other valid alternative which could work in Gwent?

I think current system is pretty ok, I like that.

What should Gwent Dev Team focus on next? More cards, more balancing, bug fixes or quality of life changes? Is there a feature that you think could be added, which would make Gwent more attractive to existing and new players?

We definitely need some balanced changes, some cards are just too good right now. And I am looking forward to the Golden Nekker stuff, could be something interesting.

Why in your opinion is Gwent not there yet when it comes to popularity of the biggest CCGs?

To be fair Gwent is doing pretty fine for a CCG. Genre is just not too popular right now. I think even Legends Of Runeterra from Riot is less popular and that game is more fresh and more promoted.

What do you think about the recent content publishing schedule? What are its biggest benefits and drawbacks?

Meta is changing more often, I think that’s a good thing. The problem is that because of low number of cards, variety of decks is quite low.

Releasing what games by CDPR as their next 2 big launches would make you really happy? Some new genre territories? Or sticking to what worked in the past?

I am definitely waiting for another Witcher, I am pretty sure we will get that sooner or later. I would also enjoy another part of Thronebreaker, but I don’t think we will get that ☹

Which 5 games have made the biggest impression on you through your gaming lifetime?

1) Gwent
3) Chess
4) Bridge
5) Witcher (especially Witcher 1)

What are your future plans games and not games related?

I will try to win this Open and then probably take a little break from Gwent. I definitely need to play Cyberpunk when I’ll buy a new computer. And beside that I still need to focus on studies and work.

Thank you for your time, good luck on Open!

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